I came home from work yesterday and changed clothes. I took off the elastic binder I was told to wear after surgery. The swelling on my left side was worse. That was one discovery I didn’t want at 6:00 pm on a Friday evening. Then, I saw, with no small amount of horror, a hole on my incision scar line. A deep hole opened on my scar line. Fluid seeped out of it. Fluid bubbles from it. I called my plastic surgeon’s emergency line while hysterical tears ran down my face. I left a message. A call back came a few minutes later. I explained what was happening and was instructed to text pictures showing the swelling, the hole, and the entire incision line…all 28 inches of it. I was told to go into a shower and press on my abdomen with my back to the shower stream and see if I could force fluid from the swelling. I was told to expect a call back in an hour or so after he had a chance to look at the pictures and determine if he thought I needed antibiotics and what the next steps would be. So, I did what I was told. I took pictures and a tried to drain fluid. The only fluid to be forced out came from around the incision line not my abdomen where there is swelling.
While I waited for a call back my scumbag brain had plenty of time to make me believe the swelling is cancer related instead of surgery related.
The surgeon called back an hour later. Nothing is red. No antibiotics. The hole is a concern. I was told to expect it to widen over the weekend. I was told to be at his office at 8 am Monday morning. I was told to call back if the swelling increases or if more of the incision opens. I was told to keep gauze over the hole to soak up draining fluid.
I’m scared the swelling and everything is related to cancer instead of surgery. I’m scared I’m about to start all over just as everything was supposed to be ending. I’m scared I’m going to die. I’m scared.
During the call back, I was told he would try to drain fluid from the swollen area on Monday, but if he couldn’t get fluid to drain, I would need to go for scans to see what’s causing the swelling. I was told that’s extremely rare, but it does happen. That’s where my brain went into overdrive.
I’ve been in the 10-20% of breast cancer cases since I was diagnosed a year ago. When I hear “rare occurrence,” all I could think was “that’s me…that’s what keeps happening to me.” I was reassured during the call back that all of this is very likely related to the surgery. I was reminded of the massive scope of my surgery. I was reminded how much they did. I heard them. I really did. But my fear is much, much bigger than those words.
I’ve had enough. I’m miserable right now. I’m scared right now. I’m terrified. I wish none of this had ever happened to me. I’ve had enough.
And while I sit here and cry, Fate laughs at me.